With cases of COVID-19 continuing to climb in Alberta, the Town of Turner Valley decided this week to take the first steps in preparing for the impact the pandemic could have on the community.
The Town's Emergency Advisory Committee, consisting of three council members, activated the Emergency Operations Committee which authorizes the director of emergency management to begin work on the Municipal Emergency Plan.
“We set up a committee this morning to take a look at what’s happening in our environment, as well as to take steps to ensure the provision of essential services for the residents of Turner Valley,” said chief administrative officer Todd Sharpe at Monday night’s council meeting. “This will allow us to prioritize and support our service delivery as we move through the COVID-19 response.
Sharpe said the Town will publish more information to residents around the different steps it will take to mitigate risk to safeguard the health of residents and staff to continue to provide services to residents.
Crane said the activation of the Emergency Operations Committee is a precautionary step for the Town.
“This is a precautionary step to ensure that, as a Town, we are thinking and acting in the best interest of our residents and the safety of our citizens,” he said. “This activation will increase our ability to prioritize and support our service delivery.”
In the event of an emergency, Crane said council is giving authority to the Town’s director of emergency operations to make critical decisions.
“It eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy and streamlines the process of emergency responders to effectively mitigate solutions,” he said.
In addition, Crane said emergency responders, volunteer firefighters and community volunteers are prepared to step in to assist residents where needed.
In the meantime, he urges residents to practice social distancing when shopping and to frequently wash their hands.
“In this strange time it is extremely important that we continue to follow the direction of Alberta Health Services and all the recommendations that come from the Province,” said Crane. “We are a branch of their overall direction setting and it is our duty to try and help stop the spread however possible. The province continues to have daily updates so please continue to monitor and adjust.”
Crane called the number of people who are staying home from work in Turner Valley "staggering."
“Obviously bus drivers were all at home, daycare workers were all at home, parents stayed home to take care of young children that can’t stay at home,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting economic situation in the next little while.”
Crane said the coming weeks will be tough on residents, yet he encourages everyone to keep their spirits up.
“We all have a responsibility to make an effort and not take things for granted, so please remember to be kind, courteous, and safe,” he said.
Residents needing information on health and travel concerns can visit https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Updates from the Province and Town of Turner Valley will be available at https://turnervalley.ca/
Immediate updates outside of the town website will be provided through the Safe Community Alert Network. The link is available on the town website and pamphlets can be picked up at the municipal office, Crane said.
“It’s very important that people do listen to the messaging that we’re getting from the Province and try and drop this curve in cases by keeping the bell flat so that we don’t overload the health services,” Crane said. “We can’t take our hats off enough to our nurses and doctors who are by far going above and beyond.”
The town website also contains critical information for small businesses, Sharpe said Monday night.
“We realize not every business has the resources to understand business continuity and develop their own business continuity plan so we’re republishing the Alberta document to allow businesses to work to establish their own business continuity plan for themselves,” he said.
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